ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
These days, you don't have to look like a rock star to feel like one, thanks to the wildly popular music games "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero." Well, now, the iPhone, the iPad and a crowd of other touch devices have inspired game designers to re-imagine the music game. Here's Jamin Warren with our latest All Tech App Review.
JAMIN WARREN, BYLINE: It's called "Beat Sneak Bandit," and it has players tapping along to their own beat. The creators are the Swedish duo of artist Simon Flesser and programmer Gordon Gardeback, who were inspired by tracks like James Brown's "Cold Sweat."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COLD SWEAT")
WARREN: The result is jazzy, hepcat overtones, a sharp art style, and a lot of syncopated fun.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WARREN: The gameplay is simple. You are tasked with retrieving the stolen timepieces from the sinister Duke Clockface but can only move through the castle by tapping along to the beat. Each level features a different song to match the mood. At the top of the screen sits a tiny metronome to help you keep time.
The Bandit can only move if you touch the screen in rhythm. If you're out of sync, the Bandit is frozen and vulnerable to guards, search lights and flying robot drones.
Behind the captivating sax tones, though, lies deceivingly complex gameplay. The levels look simple enough as each only has four floors for you to move through. But the Bandit can only move one direction at a time and must still maintain rhythm. Find yourself stuck behind a security guard? Too bad. The one-direction approach means that players have to plan their routes accordingly and think quick under pressure. Several levels require you to retrace your footsteps multiple times to collect each clock.
But unlike the most recent era of music games, such as "Rock Band" that require dexterity and speed, "Beat Sneak Bandit" only asks for precision. This game is perfect for young children hoping to play the drums someday or the types of adults who nervously tap their feet.
SIEGEL: Jamin Warren founded killscreendaily.com, a videogame arts and culture site.